Over the last several decades, identity theft has become more common in both Nebraska and the rest of the United States. State and federal law enforcement agencies dedicate a great deal of resources to investigating and prosecuting allegations of identity theft, and a conviction could lead to steep criminal penalties.
If you were recently accused of using someone else’s identifying information for personal gain, you should talk to an Omaha identity theft lawyer as soon as possible. Many people accused of identity theft in our area are prosecuted in federal court. Because federal offenses are typically punished severely, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced federal fraud defense attorney as soon as possible.
How Does State Law Define Identify Theft?
According to Nebraska Revised Statutes §28-639, the crime of identity theft entails knowingly and intentionally using another person’s identifying information without authorization to make a purchase, obtain employment, or commit any other fraudulent or felonious act. Collecting a person’s information in good faith for a legitimate purpose, such as a commercial transaction or court order, does not constitute identity theft.
The severity of an identity theft charge in Omaha depends on the value of the transaction(s) that allegedly took place. Subsequent convictions for identity theft are also punished more harshly than first-time offenses. For example, a first-time offense of identity theft is considered a Class II misdemeanor if the perpetrator gained or attempted to gain less than $500. A subsequent offense would be a Class I misdemeanor or a Class IV felony depending on the alleged perpetrator’s criminal history.
The most serious form of identity theft codified under state law involves theft in excess of $5,000 in goods, services, credit, or anything else of value. A first-time offense of this severity is a Class IIA felony, and subsequent offenses are prosecuted as Class II felonies. An Omaha attorney can help determine the penalties you are facing and work to fight your identity theft charges.
Contesting Federal Identity Theft Charges in Omaha
Identity theft was classified as a federal crime by the 1998 passage of the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act. Specifically, this Act prohibits knowingly using or transferring another person’s identifying information to either violate federal law or a commit a state-level felony.
Different penalties may apply under federal law depending on the kind of identifying information allegedly stolen and the purpose it was used for. Typically, though, the law allows for up to 15 years of imprisonment if a federal identity theft conviction involves identifying documentation officially issued by the federal government, such as a passport or Social Security number.
Furthermore, enhanced penalties may be available if the alleged identity theft facilitates a violent crime or one involving drug trafficking. For this reason, you should let a federal identify theft lawyer in our area protect your rights and pursue a favorable outcome on your behalf.
Speak with an Omaha Identity Theft Attorney
Whether it is prosecuted under federal or state law, being charged with identity theft is a serious matter. With relatively few exceptions, this offense is usually prosecuted as a felony in Omaha courts, and a conviction under federal law may result in a lengthy sentence in federal prison.
An Omaha identity theft lawyer at Berry Law can provide the relentless legal representation you need to effectively fight these allegations. To schedule a confidential consultation, call Berry Law today.